William Pedersen: The Final Exam

Rendering of design on New York City skyline

Hudson Yards by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. photo / provided

Edgar A. Tafel Lecture Series

William Pedersen is the founding design partner of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), which he started with A. Eugene Kohn and Sheldon Fox in 1976. Fourteen years later, they became the youngest firm to receive the National AIA Firm Award for design excellence. Personal honors which Pedersen has received include the Rome Prize in Architecture, the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize from the American Academy and the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the University of Minnesota's Alumni Achievement Award, the Gold Medal from the national architectural fraternity, Tau Sigma, the Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, and the Medal of Honor from the AIA of New York. He was also recently elected as a member of the National Academy and was awarded the International Award by The Society of American Registered Architects.

Of particular concern to Pedersen has been the development of what he calls the "fundamental building block of the modern city" — the high-rise commercial office building. Throughout his career, he has systematically sought ways for buildings of this seemingly mundane type to gesture and connect to other participants so that each does not stand mutely in isolation from its neighbors, but rather joins them in an active architectural conversation.